Leg Ulcer Treatment in NYC

What is a leg ulcer?

A leg ulcer, also referred to as a venous leg ulcer or stasis ulcer, is a slow-healing, chronic sore on your leg. Leg ulcers, which occur more frequently among the elderly and women, can exist for a few weeks or sometimes years and usually occur in the ankles. Leg ulcers are sometimes the result of varicose veins left untreated.

What causes leg ulcers?

A leg ulcer occurs when there is a cut or break in the skin and the valves in your veins are damaged, weakened, or defected. When working properly, the valves allow blood to travel up to your heart. When not working properly, the valves are unable to stop blood from flowing back down into your veins. The backflow of blood creates extra pressure in the legs, which causes the skin to become weak, making it difficult for proper healing to occur. The following factors may make you more prone to leg ulcers:

  • Having previous leg injuries
  • Having varicose veins
  • Smoking
  • Being obese
  • Having certain circulation-related issues

What are the symptoms of a leg ulcer?

Signs and symptoms of leg ulcers may include:

  • Affected area feels itchy or burns
  • Swelling around the affected area
  • Drying of the skin or appearance of a rash
  • Discoloration of the affected skin, usually a brownish tone
  • Leaking of fluid or discharge with an odor from the affected area

If left untreated, a leg ulcer may become infected. Signs that your leg ulcer has become  infected may include:

  • Swelling or redness of nearby areas
  • Intensifying pain of the affected area
  • Developing a fever
  • Pus buildup in the affected area

How are leg ulcers diagnosed?

To diagnose a leg ulcer, your doctor will examine your leg sores and their surrounding areas. Your doctor may also ask about your medical history and if you are diabetic or have other medical conditions that may be associated with leg ulcers. For further examination of your leg ulcer and veins, your doctor may perform additional testing.

Can a leg ulcer lead to complications if left untreated?

Left untreated, a leg ulcer can lead to skin or bone infections. Although rare, skin cancer may also occur.

How are leg ulcers treated?

Treatment of leg ulcers typically involves compression bandages or stockings. Compression bandages or stocking provide pressure that may help restore the proper circulation of blood in your legs. Dressings, which are sterile bandages or wraps, may be placed on the sores to help aid in the healing process of leg ulcers. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if your leg ulcer has become infected.

To help improve circulation in your legs, your doctor may also recommend that you raise your leg throughout the day for 30-minute intervals. Surgery may also be recommended as an alternative for restoring proper circulation in your legs.

Speak with your doctor to learn more about the available treatment options for leg ulcers.

Our heart and vein doctors at Heart Vein NYC have over 20 years of experience providing the New York City area with comprehensive, personalized vascular care for patients who suffer from leg ulcers or who have symptoms of a vascular condition. Contact our compassionate heart doctors if you believe you have a vascular problem and want to learn more about improving your vascular health. Call 212.226.8000 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment with Heart Vein NYC today.

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